Program captures the light and darkness of Mozart

Greenville News Full Article from Greenville News Online

By Paul Hyde: November 11, 2015

As Leonardo da Vinci is to painting and Shakespeare is to drama so Mozart is to music: an undisputed genius.

“He is one of our greatest composers,” said Edvard Tchivzhel, music director of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. “Even people who may not know his music know that he was an incredible genius.”

The Greenville Symphony’s chamber orchestra has performed its annual all-Mozart program since the early 1990s. Tchivzhel, who arrived in 1999 to lead the orchestra, was happy to continue the yearly homage to the classical composer.

This year’s all-Mozart program, “Magic of Mozart,” captures the composer in shades of light and darkness: The breezy Overtures to “The Magic Flute” and “Abduction from the Seraglio” will be offered along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, which strikes a tragic tone.

Occupying an ambiguous middle ground is Mozart’s dramatic, energetic Symphony No. 38 (subtitled “Prague”).

“These are four of the most popular works of Mozart, all written in the last 10 years of his life,” Tchivzhel said.

Three performances, led by Tchivzhel, will be offered of the program, Nov. 20-22 at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre.

Mozart wrote the Symphony No. 40 in 1788 and the Overture to “The Magic Flute” in 1791, a time when the composer was poverty stricken and in declining health.

Yet the “Magic Flute” Overture bursts with high spirits.

“‘The Magic Flute’ was Mozart’s last opera, brilliant and funny, and the overture reflects those qualities,” Tchivzhel said. “It’s a fantastic piece of music and there’s no hint that he was suffering.”

The Symphony No. 40, however, seems to offer a reflection of Mozart’s distressed circumstances. It is one of only two of Mozart’s 41 symphonies written in a dark minor key.

“It reveals his inner world, his private, personal feelings,” Tchivzhel said. “The music expresses anxiety, drama and even anger. It’s a innovative work that already seems to belong to the Romantic era.”

The Overture to “The Abduction From the Seraglio” (1782) returns the program to a lighter mood. The lively piece uniquely features cymbals, triangle and drums — instruments intended, at the time, to evoke a Turkish style and atmosphere.

Mozart’s three-movement Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”) opens with a long dramatic passage but includes a wealth of lyricism and concludes in a spirit of boisterous affirmation.

Following that work, a mystery encore will test the audience’s musical knowledge.

The Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s concerts are presented by The Greenville News.

For the latest in local arts news and reviews, follow Paul Hyde on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.


What: The Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s “Magic of Mozart,” an all-Mozart program conducted by Edvard Tchivzhel, presented by The Greenville News

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 20-21; 3 p.m. Nov. 22

Where: Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre

Tickets: $43

Information: 864-467-3000 or